We live in an age where the fulfilment of adults has come to be regarded as more important than the wellbeing of children.Charles Arnold-Baker, subject of yesterday’s post, has an interesting thesis about the prevalence of violence in the Middle Ages. He puts it down to everyone being very, very drunk most of the time. It’s certainly an attractive topic for further research. The Victorians, he claims, diverted the people of these islands away from drink and towards industry in the widest sense. Their influence lasted until very recently. Public drunkenness was scorned in Britain (just as it is in Italy today), and it is interesting that Orwell thought the defining characteristic of English life between the wars was ‘gentleness’. Among the chief beneficiaries of this moral reformation were children. That is no longer the case. We live in an age where the fulfilment of adults has come to be regarded as more important than the wellbeing of children. Thomas Paine wrote 'If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child shall have peace.'That will not be the case for the next generation of British children. But if we can’t give them peace, we can at least give them an education and a grounding in history, from where to navigate a difficult future. This explains, perhaps, the enormous rise in the number of applicants for the remaining grammar schools and, even more remarkably, the apparent rise reported yesterday in applicants for fee-paying schools. In difficult times, our priorities change.
Thursday, 12 February 2009
A Grounding in History
Posted by History Today magazine at 07:30